I have been an active member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since I was elected to Congress thirteen years ago. At the beginning of the 116th Congress I was appointed Chairman of the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade Subcommittee. In this role, I have worked to build closer relationships with our regional allies to advance our shared economic and security interests and promote the values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
The United States must be a leader in the international arena through investments in diplomacy, economic and social development, political stability, and democratic representation. Not only are these efforts critical to a comprehensive national security strategy, they also have a strong correlation to our security, stability, and prosperity here at home.
Foreign Affairs Committee
I am proud to be a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As a Committee, we are responsible for creating and maintaining an overarching strategy that complements our existing programs and ensures they fit with the democratic and humanitarian goals and ideals of the United States. We also exercise our oversight role in ensuring foreign aid and policies are implemented in the best interest of our country.
As Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, it is my duty to engage with leaders in the region to ensure that the United States is a good partner to our allies, committed to prosperity and security in the region. It is an honor to serve as the head of a Subcommittee that oversees a portion of the world that is not only strategically critical for our foreign agenda, but a part of the world that is deeply personal to me and many of my constituents. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the countries in South America, North America, and the Caribbean.
I am also a member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment. This Subcommittee has jurisdiction over matters affecting the relations between the United States and countries in the region.
I have introduced several bills aimed at exercising this oversight role, including:
- H.Res.546, disapproving of Russia’s inclusion in future G-7 summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.
- H.Res.426, supporting the U.S.’ continued engagement with the people and governments of the Northern Triangle to improve security in the region and address the root causes of migration.
- H.Res.649, supporting the work of the Inter-American Foundation.
You can stay up to date with the Committee’s work here.
I believe that basic human rights and fundamental freedoms must be upheld and respected around the world, in every nation and in every community. I continue to advocate for the rights of minority communities, who too often suffer targeted persecution and violence. It is unacceptable that thousands of people are threatened, attacked, and silenced simply for standing up for what they believe. Below are just a few examples of human rights legislation I have cosponsored in the 116th Congress:
- H.R. 649, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, requires expanded reporting by several U.S. agencies on the Chinese treatment of the Uyghur minority.
- H.R. 3190, the BURMA Act of 2019, as passed by the House, imposes sanctions against officials responsible for human rights abuses in Burma and authorizes aid for Burma and the surrounding region, including those ethnic minorities targeted by Burma’s military.
- H.R. 3252, the Global Respect Act, would impose sanctions against people responsible for violating the human rights of LTBTI individuals.
- H.Res.49, Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt, urges the Egyptian government to ensure that Coptic Christians have the same rights as other Egyptians and work towards ending the culture of impunity for attacks on Christians.
Each year, millions of people throughout the world are left to suffer without access to quality health care and resources. Every year millions of lives are lost due to infectious disease, malnutrition, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth, many of which are treatable or completely preventable with the right investment. Last Congress, my bill, the Global Health Innovation Act of 2017, was signed into law. This bill provides the oversight needed to gain a clearer understanding of USAID’s global health research and development. I believe in the importance of funding initiatives aimed at expanding global health programs, which is why each year I request comprehensive funding for global health in the annual appropriations process. I have also cosponsored H.Res.517, supporting the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and its Sixth Replenishment.
The United States should act like the global leader that it is and be a reliable partner to our allies as well as a staunch defender of human rights. To promote global security and prosperity, we must support the basic tenants of shared humanity, equal rights, and democracy to foster genuine relationships with international actors. I have been, and will continue to be, an advocate for the use of our foreign assistance as an integral part of our overall national security strategy and foreign policy. For more information on the foreign affairs legislation I have cosponsored, visit congress.gov
More on Foreign Affairs
Last week in Washington, I met with local leaders in education, supported an impeachment inquiry and drew attention in Congress to our local transportation issues. I held a hearing on the Administration’s disastrous cuts to Latin America and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee on our country’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific region.
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement after the Trump Administration signed “safe third country” agreements with Honduras and El Salvador:
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, convened a meeting with Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Francis Rooney (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, with a delegation of political and social leaders from Nicaragua.
(Washington, DC) - Hoy, el congresista Albio Sires (D-NJ), presidente del Subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental, Seguridad Civil y Comercio en el Comité de Asuntos Exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes, convocó una reunión con Eliot Engel (D-NY), presidente de la Comité de Asuntos Exteriores de la Cámara, Michael McCaul (R-TX), miembro de rango del Comité de Asuntos Exteriores de la Cámara, y Francis Rooney (R-FL), miembro de rango del Subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental, con una delegación de líderes políticos y sociales de Nicaragua.
Last week in Washington, the 2020 Census, income inequality, and climate change were the focus of my attention as I met with my colleagues and stakeholders. I also attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and questioned Administration officials on our nation’s policy towards Afghanistan.
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement in response to the Nicaraguan Government’s decision to deny access to members of an Organization of American States Commission on Nicaragua, which was scheduled to visit Nicaragua on September 16th and 17th:
Congress returned to Washington this week and began working to protect our shorelines from oil and gas drilling. Since the Senate is also back from recess, I believe it is time for Senate Majority Leader to act immediately on passing commonsense gun reform legislation already passed in the House, like H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This week, I also met with the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars and convened the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee for a hearing on deforestation in the Amazon and the recent outbreak of devastating fires.
(Washington, D.C.) –Congressman Sires, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, delivered today the following opening remarks at the subcommittee hearing on the fires in the Brazilian Amazon:
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced a resolution that would disapprove Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven (G-7) summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies. The resolution comes as a response to President Trump’s announcement at this year’s G-7 summit that he intends to invite Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to next year’s summit.
“There is a reason that the Amazon Rainforest is often referred to as the lungs of our planet. The 2 million square miles of rainforest traps carbon dioxide—a contributor to global warming—and releases oxygen instead. I am deeply disturbed by the severe fires ravaging the Amazon and damaging the rainforest ecosystem. If these fires are left to consume more land, the forest may no longer be able to play this crucial role of regulating global air quality and we could lose an important resource that combats climate change.